The Application

Once I had decided on a topic and a country, the application process was mostly smooth.   Before starting on the application, I contacted Jeanne, a Chicago teacher who had received this award a few years ago.  She suggested we meet at the Huttenbar, and I knew I liked her already.   Jeanne was awesome.  She answered all my questions about the application and about living abroad.  I was happy to learn that Chicago Public Schools is one of the few districts to offer paid leave for this award.  Now all I needed to do was write the application, contact my references, and talk to my administration about taking a sabbatical.

Geoff was kind enough to give me plenty of time to write.  He and our daughter took a few mini-vacations while I stayed home to work.   Because I am so attached to my inquiry topic, the application hardly seemed like work.  My references were excited for me and completed their recommendations right away.  Given all this enthusiasm, I did not expect that it would be difficult to convince my school administration to allow me to apply.  Before I could submit the application, I needed my principal and a higher-up administrator to agree that I could go.  In retrospect I realized that I went about asking my principal in the exact wrong way.  If you are a teacher reading this, please learn from me.  Don’t approach your principal on a busy morning, after she has just received the budget, and tell her how excited you are to apply for a program that will put you on the other side of the world for three months of the school year.  She had some concerns: namely paying for my leave and replacing me for three months.  Eventually, she signed on and has been very supportive ever since.  I submitted the application and then began the long wait until April when I would hear if I got the award.

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